Ralph Rubalcaba, a 2012 graduate of Raymondville High School, has enjoyed a successful football career at Texas A&M-Kingsville.
Rubalcaba, who recently received a bachelor’s degree in marketing, is now in graduate school pursuing a master’s degree in business administration.
While his football playing days are now behind him, he will suit up one more time at the 2018 Dream Bowl at noon on Monday in Salem, Virginia.
The Star caught up with Ralph during a break from practice in Salem on Saturday.
Q: How has your experience at TAMUK been both on and off the field?
A: My experience has been great. I loved every second of it. On the field, with the atmosphere of Javelina Nation, it was unbelievable. Off the field, the fans were just as great at the restaurants, stores, etc. They always loved talking football and encouraging the team.
Q: What has been your best on-field moment?
A: The best on-the-field moment was from the 2016 season, winning the Live United Bowl game with my team in Arkansas. Great season and a great team.
Q: What was the toughest stadium you played in and why?
A: The toughest stadium had to have been West Texas A&M on their homecoming night. It was a sold out crowd and they were ranked 17 in the nation so they were extra loud, but we came out with a huge win so that was better for us.
Q: Has it always been a dream of yours to play in a bowl game?
A: Always has been. I’ve always wanted to see where my play would get me.
Q: What has the week been like in preparation for the bowl game?
A: It’s been a lot of install as far as playbook wise and meetings, two a days, etc., but it’s also been a lot of fun getting to bond with guys from all over the nation.
Q: When did it hit you that you were playing college football?
A: The first time running out of the tunnel at Javelina Stadium. It was the best feeling in the world and I got that same feeling every time I ran out on the field.
Q: How did you earn the nickname “Highway 77?”
A: My Uncle Danny actually made it up my sophomore year of high school since I started on varsity. It was basically kind of like paving the way as far as running the ball.
Q: How has the support been from your family and the city of Raymondville?
A: The support my family has given me is the best. They’ve been there for every game of my career and are here with me currently in Virginia for the bowl game. They are my motivation for playing this game and they make playing football fun because I know how much they love watching me play.
Q: What message would you give to the kids playing sports in high school today?
A: Work your butt off for everything you want. It’s not going to be easy, but busting your butt off will get you further than you can ever imagine in life.